Kyle Rittenhouse – Let’s talk facts in the Kenosha Wisconsin shooting from a Lawyer’s standpoint
A lot of people feel some type of way about Kyle bringing an AR-15 with him to a protest/riot and I get it, why bring a rifle to a peaceful protest? Well sometimes protest turn into riots and an AR-15 is one of the most effective self-defense tools in the world.
That’s why it’s the most popular rifle in the country. I know seeing someone carrying an AR makes some people uncomfortable, but I also can’t blame someone for wanting the best means of protection when they’re going into what could turn out to be a dangerous and volatile situation.
Also, let’s be clear, there were a lot of protestors and rioters with guns at this protest/riot. However, there is the issue of legality. Kyle is 17 and In Wisconsin, any person under 18 years of age who possesses or goes armed with a dangerous weapon is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
So, on the surface, Kyle was carrying his rifle illegally, but Wisconsin law has an exception that says that law only applies if the person has a short-barreled rifle or shotgun or the person does not have a certificate of accomplishment to obtain hunting approval. Kyle may or may not have this, I don’t know and this exception may only apply in cases of hunting, it’s not very clear, but my gut tells me, Wisconsin wasn’t trying to carve out an exception that let minors open carry during a protest/riot and the exception was more about hunting.
Then there are people saying Kyle shouldn’t have been there because there was an 8pm curfew and they’d be right, but that also means the protestors and rioters shouldn’t have been there either. I’m not really a fan of any 17-year-old being at a protest/riot. I know 40-year- olds who don’t have the mental maturity to deal with the dynamic of a riot much less an impressionable 17-year-old, but if we send 18-year-olds to fight people in other countries, so then can I really say anything to a 17-year-old who wants to help protect business and people in his country.
There are a lot of people making a big deal about the fact that Kyle drove in from Antioch Illinois. The drive from Antioch to Kenosha is 30 min. That’s shorter than a lot of people’s daily commute. Anthony Huber the kid with the skateboard who was shot and killed, lived in Silver Lake, that’s a 30 min drive to Kenosha. Gaige Grosskreutz, lived in West Allis and that’s a 49 min drive to Kenosha.
So, it’s safe to say they all should have probably stayed home that day, but none of them did so here we are. In Wisconsin, Deadly force can only be used if a person reasonably believes that such force is required to avoid death or great bodily harm.
There is no duty to retreat unless you were the initial aggressor. If you are the initial aggressor, you can only use deadly force if you reasonably believe all means to escape great bodily injury or death has been exhausted. I describe the events with video in great detail from a lawyer’s point of view in this video.
Yes, the people attacking Kyle think he just murdered someone, but they are attacking him. They are not defending themselves from him to prevent death or great bodily injury, so under the letter of the law, they are the aggressor at that moment. Because they have a disparity of force (ie way more people than him) and weapons or objects being used as weapons, Kyle is legally justified to use deadly force to stop them.
So as a lawyer, unless some new info comes out that shows Kyle was the initial aggressor and he had a way to retreat, legally I don’t think he will be charged with murder. Yes, Kyle probably broke the law in that he was a minor open carrying a firearm.
However, Kyle breaking that law does not mean he forfeits his right to self-defense if it is justified. This is similar to a situation in which I’m a felon and I have a gun that I use to protect myself during a home invasion.
I’m still going to jail, but not for murder. It’ll be for me having a gun as a felon because my use of deadly force with that gun even though it was illegal for me to have, was justified. In this case from the looks of the information up to this point, legally, he was justified. Because of this, I think Kyle is going to plead to the lesser charge of open carrying a firearm as a minor, but I don’t see him getting convicted of murder.